Gokulam comes home to a rousing welcome

I-League champion Gokulam Kerala is greeted by a big crowd during its victory parade.

Gokulam Kerala being greeted by fans during its victory parade. - K. RAGESH

There were thousands to cheer Gokulam Kerala on as it took a victory parade around the city on Wednesday. It was indeed an evening to remember for the newly-crowned I-League champion and its fans.

But for the coronavirus, Gokulam would have been able to play many of its matches at its home ground, the Corporation Stadium, which witnessed some of the biggest crowds for the I-Leaugue in the last couple of seasons. The parade was a reminder of that.

Fittingly, it was from the stadium that the parade kicked off. It culminated at the Kozhikode beach.

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Besides the entire team, coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese, technical director Bino George, Gokulam’s CEO Ashok Kumar, former international footballers Jo Paul Ancheri, N. P. Pradeep and M. Suressh were also there. As were the club’s chairman Gokulam Gopalan and president V. C. Praveen; their decision to invest heavily in football, some four years ago, gave Kerala an I-League club and now the State’s first ever title in the national league.

It was an emotional moment for many associated with Gokulam from the early days. Like Bino, the team’s first coach.

“It is great to be part of a victory parade like this,” he said. “It was very unfortunate that we could not play any match at home because of the pandemic. It would have been fantastic to be crowned at the home ground. This parade is some consolation, nevertheless.”

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